Kentucky Lt. Gov. says state lawmakers need to prioritize student and teacher mental health
Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman says state lawmakers need to prioritize student and teacher mental health during this year's General Assembly.
The Lieutenant Governor spoke to students, educators, and parents at Bowling Green High School Wednesday about Governor Beshear’s Education First Plan. The plan was introduced last year as a response to pandemic-related learning loss and to address the statewide teacher shortage and lack of adequate pay.
According to Coleman, more services need to be offered to address social isolation related to the pandemic and a trend of declining mental health in students. A solution would be increasing licensed mental health professionals in schools.
The Lieutenant Governor said the Education First Plan would fund mental health services in schools across the state.
"Now is the time to invest heavily in our students and our schools, even beyond the tangible object like facilities and textbooks," Coleman said. "We must invest in the whole child."
Tenants of Education First Plan are currently up for approval in the General Assembly and would also fund an increase in pay for school staff, provide universal Pre-K and launch loan forgiveness programs for students.
The event included speeches from a Bowling Green student, a parent, a Western Kentucky University student teacher, and the Director of Student Services for Warren County Public Schools.
Coleman also addressed restoring the teacher pension, more funding for teaching resources and textbooks, and launching student loan forgiveness programs.
According to Coleman the Education First Plan is nonpartisan and benefits the students directly.
“It’s less important to me to try to gin up a base than it is to provide the services to our students that they need,” Coleman said.